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Keeping it simple with a dash of fun is the way forward, says head chef Greig Young, of The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds, as he celebrates being back in the kitchen




We are now seven weeks open, Bury is busy, the parks are full and The Northgate has a lovely buzz around it – we are filling up most days and everyone seems to be still loving getting out the house and not cooking!

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme helped customers and businesses more than anyone could imagine and for us Wednesdays were the new Saturdays! It’s almost hard to believe not even two months ago we were all locked up indoors dancing to Tik Tok and possibly, like me, failing at sourdough.

We have stuck to it and have kept it simple and personally I think it’s gone well – we have stripped back to bold confident cooking with a little bit of fun. One of the most popular things at the moment that we can’t seem to make quick enough are the Rosti chips – little Jenga blocks of a hash brown-styled chips with a frothy whipped tartare sauce, finished with a healthy pinch of crispy capers. Who would have thought, an absolute hit!

Parmesan risotto, girolles, greengage olives, black pepper, savoury pickled plum sauce (42176543)
Parmesan risotto, girolles, greengage olives, black pepper, savoury pickled plum sauce (42176543)

I have kept all the menu like this and today I’ll share a few recipes that show what a little bit of fun and creative thinking can do to your cooking. I’m really proud of this one and hope you give it, or a variation, a go at home. So here is my take on a classic wild mushroom risotto. The are quite a few recipes with this one and some are prepared well in advance, but even if you only do the risotto and the girolles you are in for a treat.

PARMESAN RISOTTO, GIROLLES, GREENGAGE OLIVES, BLACK PEPPER, SAVOURY PICKLED PLUM SAUCE

Greengage olives

Ingredients:

20 unripe firm greengages

1 litre bottled or filtered water

80g good quality salt

Method:

Boil the water and add the salt to dissolve. Chill completely. Pack the greengages into a Kilner jar tightly so they do not move around, cover in your salty water. Reserve in the fridge for a month before using.

You can prepare the day before but for the best results do in big quantities when you have a glut of greengages.

Risotto

Ingredients:

200g risotto rice

30g butter

80g grated parmesan

Vegetable stock or chicken stock (hot)

75ml dry vermouth

1 banana shallot finely diced

Method:

Sweat the rice and the shallot over a moderate heat in half the butter for a few minutes. Pour over the vermouth. Add the hot stock 1 ladle at a time, cooking and stirring until all the liquid dissolves and repeat for around 12 minutes, until the rice is tender but not mush. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter and parmesan. Mix vigorously until glossy and velvety, adjusting with hot stock if needed. Season with salt if needed.

Girolles

Ingredients:

80g girolles washed and trimmed

Black pepper

Whole grain mustard

Juice of quarter of a lemon

15g butter

Method:

Heat a frying pan until almost smoking. Remove from the heat and dry fry the mushrooms. Add 3 good turns of a pepper mill, then the butter. Finish with the mustard, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt.

Plum sauce

50g plums pre-soaked in sweet vinegar

50g girolles

2 carrots peeled and roughly chopped

1 bulb garlic

2 egg yolks

100g butter

50g rapeseed oil

Juice 1 lemon

Method:

Melt the butter with the carrot, girolles, plum, rapeseed oil and garlic. Slow cook in a pot for 45 minutes until all are tender. Blend while hot. When smooth, add the egg yolks and lemon and blend again until thick, glossy and smooth. Serve hot.

To finish/plate

Spoon your plum sauce on the bottom of the plate and then generously cover in the parmesan risotto. Cover in your sautéed girolles and grate over a good amount of parmesan. Slice your greengage olives and place decoratively on top.

Greig Young is head chef at The Northgate, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds

Call 01284 339604

See thenorthgate.com